Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.John 8:11-12
See what the Light said of Himself, John viii. 11 and 12: 'Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.' These two verses ought never to have been severed. Their meaning consists in their union; the 'neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more,' the sanctifying forgiveness of God manifested in Christ is the light of life, and he that seeth it hath the life. Precisely the same idea of the light is given in the first chapter of the first epistle of John, fifth verse, 'God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth from all sin' (the intervening matter in the sixth and beginning of the seventh verses is merely a commentary on the words, God is light). The light consists in the forgiving holy love.
—Erskine of Linlathen.
Christ the World's Light
We can almost imagine the scene which suggested these words, or at least helped to give them their significance. He had come to the Temple in the early morning, just before sunrise. As He waited and taught, the sun arose. Quickly the splendour of the morning spread over earth and sky. And as the Saviour watched this transformation scene He lifted Himself up, and looked in the faces of those who were questioning Him, and spoke this memorable word, 'I am the light of the world'.
I. It was a magnificent word, a stupendous word. There are only two possible conclusions to which we can come concerning such words as these. They are either the wildest words of audacity and self-deluded egotism that human lips ever uttered, or they are the language of One who was set far above all human criticism and judgment by His real and unmistakable Divinity. No wonder that the men who listened to Him were either filled with indignation or inspired with reverential awe. And no middle course has ever been possible for long. We have ever to make our choice, and most of us have made it to our heart's rest and joy.
II. He declares here that He Himself is the light. And that is the truth or fact which has always impressed the world and stamped itself on the hearts of believers. It is not so much His words, His moral teachings, His matchless sayings, that have thrown light upon the world's darkness and illumined the obscure path which man treads, but His person and all He was and did and suffered. Life is illumined throughout in the glory of the Incarnation.
III. Is He not now as He always was the light and life of men? And what sure hope can the world have concerning its future, save in the light of promise which shines from Him? We dare not cast the horoscope of the future unless we see His shining beyond.
IV. And He is to us indeed the only clear light of life. For apart from Him everything that is most precious in life, everything that makes up the heart's chief treasures and possessions, is doubtful, uncertain, obscure; nay, as the dusky, baseless fabric of a dream. The light which streams from Him is all-pervading in our lives. It gives another and higher meaning to every labour and duty; it breaks like sunlight upon every dark night of life and makes sudden morning.
—J. G. Greenhough, Christ in Modern Life, p. 88.
References.—VIII. 12.—A. G. Mortimer, The Church's Lessons for the Christian Year, pt. iv. p. 305. F. D. Maurice, Sermons, vol. iv. p. 203. Archbishop Lang, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlvi. p. 310. T. D. Barlow, Rays from the Sun of Righteousness, p. 22. Brooke Herford, Courage and Cheer, p. 138. W. H. Dallinger, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lv. p. 52. R. W. Church, Village Sermons (3rd Series), p. 46. C. Bickersteth, The Gospel of Incarnate Love, p. 155. E. H. Hopkins, The Record, vol. xxvii. p. 767. Hugh Price Hughes, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lvi. p. 161. C. Vince, The Unchanging Saviour, p. 162. J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons (9th Series), p. 242. D. Fraser, Metaphors in the Gospels, p. 16. Expositor (4th Series), vol. ii. p. 216; ibid. (6th Series), vol. vii. p. 141. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. John, p. 319. VIII. 12-20.—Ibid. vol. iii. p. 54. VIII. 15.—Ibid. (5th Series), vol. viii. p. 277. VIII. 18.—L. D. Bevan, Christ and the Age, pp. 113,135. VIII. 19.—Expositor (6th Series), vol. x. p. 180. VIII. 20.—T. Sadler, Sunday Thoughts, p. 152. Expositor (6th Series), vol. viii. p. 269. VIII. 21.—J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in Sackville College Chapel, vol. viii. p. 111. VIII. 24.—J. Keble, Sermons for Lent to Passion-tide, p. 357. VIII. 25.—Expositor (5th Series), vol. v. p. 1; ibid. (7th Series), vol. vi. p. 371. VIII. 28.—H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1699, p. 631. VIII. 29.—F. A. Noble, Christian World Pulpit, vol. 1. p. 164. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xx. No. 1165. G. Campbell Morgan, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lix. p. 179. VIII. 30.—Expositor (4th Series), vol. i. p. 33. VIII. 30, 31.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. John, p. 330. VIII. 30-32.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxvii. No. 2191.
The Ideal of True Individuality
Our Lord Jesus Christ continually appealed to men as individuals, one by one. He knew what was in man; He met man face to face, and claimed him for His own. It is quite true, and it must never be forgotten, or we lose a very great deal of what He designed for us, that He provided, for those who should follow Him, the Divine home and shelter of the Church, that He made the perfection of the Christian character attainable only in the corporate and living union of the Brotherhood which is His Body, the union, part by part, with Himself. It is quite true that to His Spirit, through the teaching of His Apostles and Saints, we owe the perfected ideal of citizenship, the grandest thing the world can ever know, transmuting the idea of world-empire into the richer truth of 'the whole Body fitly framed and knit together by that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part, making increase of the Body unto the edifying of itself in love'. But there is no contradiction between this and the ideal of true individuality; and Christ constantly, in all His teaching, through all His life on earth, up to the end—even on the cross itself—appealed to each man as free and unique and inestimably precious in himself. He loved His own individuality, and so He loved them unto the end.
I. And as He loved, He appealed to them by, and He taught them to value, the imperishable gift of individual freedom, and with that the inalienable sacredness of every human soul. All things are yours; Christ's religion is a religion of light; there is nothing He has which He would keep back from you. He sets it all before us; He calls us each, one by one, to come forward and take it, to see with our own eyes, handle with our own hands, the priceless treasures of truth. So He urged, again and again, with insistent earnestness and unhesitating certainty, that we must be bold, and original, and genuine; that we must seek truth with undivided wills, and righteousness with a true hunger and thirst. It is only those who thus seek that will be rewarded; it is only they who can attain. The divided will, the half-hearted search—these are doomed to inevitable failure. Man can only reach his true freedom if he seeks it with his whole heart, if his model is the supreme honesty, even to the death, of Christ the Son of God. 'If ye abide in My word, then are ye truly My disciples, and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'
II. Some think that today the greatest danger lies in unchecked individuality. If it were so—and it is a danger timid ages always fear, and ours is a very timid age—yet it is a danger Christ would have us run. When the world opens before each of us, when new thoughts come ana new difficulties arise, He certainly would not have us be afraid. He would have us sure in our own souls. That is a point on 'the human outlook' which we must not dare to ignore. Let me use the words of one of our scientific teachers; he calls them 'a personal caution'. As to our own souls, we are fully responsible. We can at least control them.
III. That is Christ's message to the young. But a time comes to most of us when we find that life is not what we thought it was—it is infinitely more difficult, and there are many things which we once thought simple, or never thought about at all, for which we can now find no explanation. Yet if you are trying to discover your true self you will distrust all simple explanations, because you will see the complexity of truth. You will not be atheist, or what people once called agnostic, because you will see that these are positions of intellectual and moral darkness. You wish to know the truth, and your very wish makes you certain it can be known. You are confident that your own self can work out into something truer and better, and that the truth you seek will give you full freedom for yourself. And you will see as your knowledge grows that 'scepticism narrows the real problem' and avoids facing facts as they are. There are still many to whom it may be said, 'There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy,' and it is our business, if we are truth-seekers, to see those things face to face.
IV. The search for truth is, like all those great quests the romancers tell of, by a perilous path strewn with failures and beset with tragic deaths. It is so in natural science, in politics, in art; it is so not a whit less in religion. The man has crippled himself, has made success impossible, who forgets that his prayers, his communions, his repentances, his deep and wondering thoughts of God were, with all their imperfections, by far the finest, and the most serious, and the truest things he knew. They, those thoughts, those experiences, went down to the foundations of his individuality, to the real heart of his life. He must take them with him if he is to find truth and be free. Religion, as Bishop Creighton said, 'is not one out of many explanations of life: it is life itself. No man will ever find truth who loses the sense of awe and reverence; no man will ever be free who has not to the full a deep feeling of responsibility for all he learns and does and is. There are some lessons, if we are to go through with this quest, we must never forget; and the chief of them is the lesson of the life of Jesus Christ. Many things we may have to leave behind. Often we may have to stand alone. But the deep principle of those great words can never fail us: 'If ye abide in My word, then are ye truly My disciples, and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free'.
—W. H. Hutton, The Guardian, 17th March, 1911.
References.—VIII. 31.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlv. No. 2650. Expositor (6th Series), vol. ix. p. 39. VIII. 31-36.—Ibid. (4th Series), vol. iii. p. 292. VIII. 31-69.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlv. No. 2652.
He is the freeman whom the truth makes free,
And all are slaves beside. There's not a chain
That hellish foes confederate for his harm
Can wind around him, but he casts it off
With as much ease as Samson his green withes.
—Cowper, The Task (The Winter Morning Walk: 732 f; see the whole passage).
One of the properties of this liberty is the ability to think about all kinds of things and find God in them. Anything but this is bondage of spirit; and, let alone the harm it does to the body, it binds the soul so that it cannot grow.
But there is yet a liberty unsung
By poets, and by senators unpraised,
Which monarchs cannot grant, nor all the powers
Of earth and hell confederate take away;
A liberty which persecution, fraud,
Oppression, prisons, have no power to bind;
Which whoso tastes can be enslaved no more.
'Tis liberty of heart, derived from Heaven,
Bought with His blood who gave it to mankind,
And sealed with the same token. It is held
By charter, and that charter sanctioned sure
By the unimpeachable and awful oath
And promise of a God. His other gifts
All bear the royal stamp that speaks them His,
And are august, but this transcends them all...
There is paradise that fears
No forfeiture, and of its fruits He sends
Large prelibation oft to saints below.
Of these the first in order, and the pledge
And confident assurance of the rest,
Is liberty; a flight into His arms,
Ere yet mortality's fine threads give way,
A clear escape from tyrannising lust,
And full immunity from penal woe.
—Cowper, The Task (v.).
References.—VIII. 32.—B. J. Snell, The New Age, 6th December, 1894. E. M. Geldart, Echoes of Truth, p. 195. H. D. Rawnsley, Church Family Newspaper, vol. xiv. p. 68. John Thomas, Concerning the King, p. 84. J. Caird, Lay Sermons, p. 21. Expositor (4th Series), vol. iii. p. 183; ibid. vol. ix. p. 221. VIII. 33.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. John, p. 341. VIII. 33-39.—Ibid. (5th Series), vol. iv. p. 178. VIII. 34.—B. J. Snell, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xliii. p. 54.
The Freedom of the Pure
The Jews felt acutely their sad political state; they writhed under foreign dominion, and again and again broke out into rebellion, seeking an external freedom by casting off the hated Roman yoke. Yet the essential slavery is interior; political coercion may imprison the body or intellectual error degrade the mind, but the most abject and fatal bondage by far is that of the soul under the dominion of ignorance, passion, and wilfulness. Let us attempt to show the real nature of this deeper tyranny, and how the truth and grace of Jesus Christ give the captive soul sweet relief
I. The Bondage of the Mind.—This is one source and method of the essential slavery, the bondage of the mind being the tyranny of materialism. The love that never finds an object, the genius that never finds a sphere, and the greatness that never finds a mission, suggest a pathos beyond that of martyrdom; but life that fails to find God is the most terrible experience of all. We must be governed from above or from below, and according to the rule to which we submit ourselves are we free or enslaved. Christ emancipates us from the thraldom of materialism by opening our eyes to the spiritual universe, harmonising us with its law and filling us with its power.
II. The Bondage of the Will.—All see what an awful tyranny sin is when it has once become the habit of life. It is this bitter consciousness of an ignoble compulsion that spoils human life even when it abounds most in the elements of happiness. Christ ensures freedom by delivering men from the deceits and passions which betray and stultify the will. This is true liberty—to will the good; so to will that we may do it, and to do it with such sympathy and mastery that we find our heaven in the doing of it; and with this freedom Christ makes His people free.
III. The Bondage of the Conscience.—The commission of sin defiles the conscience, and conscience degrades us into convicts and cowards. At the bottom of all our pessimism, abjectness, and hopelessness is the consciousness of sin and guilt. By imparting the sense of forgiveness and purifying the conscience from its stains, does Christ first break the fetters of the soul. Instead of looking for the fundamental, final freedom in more propitious circumstance, let us expect it from within in the deeper regeneration of the soul itself. Then all life shall be worked out in love and power.
—W. L. Watkinson, The Bane and the Antidote, p. 227.
References.—VIII. 34-36.—T. Barker, Plain Sermons, p. 12. VIII. 35.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. John, p. 350. VIII. 36.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. x. No. 565. Bishop Gore, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlix. p. 145. J. Keble, Sermons for Lent to Passion-tide, p. 346. Expositor (5th Series), vol. ix. p. 92; ibid. (6th Series), vol. vi. p. 404. VIII. 37.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xliv. No. 2584. VIII. 37-42.—Expositor (4th Series), vol. vi. p. 455. VIII. 38.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xliv. No. 2560. Expositor (6th Series), vol. iii. p. 125. VIII. 39.—J. O. Dykes, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlix. p. 193. VIII. 40.—W. H. Simcox, The Cessation of Prophecy, p. 295.
What Jesus Said About His First Coming
'Back to Jesus 'is the watchword of a growing and influential school today. There is a great deal in the cry, and in the drift of thought which it represents, with which every wise Christian must be in sympathy. But it covers very different tendencies. In some cases it means reverent submission to Jesus Christ, and acceptance of all His words. In some cases it is associated with a very free and arbitrary handling of the Gospels, which substantially results in the rejection, as not genuine, of all Christ's sayings that point in the direction of His supernatural origin or Divine power. The underlying motive in such cases is the wish to get away from the epistles back to the supposed simpler teaching of the Sage and Saint of Nazareth.
Now I want to go 'back to Christ'; and to collect what He Himself said about His mission. If Jesus said about Himself and His work what the Gospels unanimously report Him to have said, or anything like it, then the doctrines of Paul, and Peter, and the Epistle to the Hebrews, and John, are the only adequate explanation, and they are but the explanation, of His claims.
I. These sayings give us Christ's own estimate of His heavenly origin and worldwide significance.
We find in these sayings clear indications of the worldwide significance which, in Christ's consciousness, attached to Himself and His work.
II. I find in these sayings collectively our Lord's conception of the purposes of His coming. (1) Salvation, or the communication of life, or the flooding of the world with light, are the purposes, as Jesus saw them, of His coming. To deal with a humanity so full of desperate needs, and so utterly incapable of any kind of self-help, was the problem which this audacious young Rabbi grappled, and said He had solved. (2) In this declaration of purpose there lies the clearest consciousness of non-participation in that universal condition. (3) His tremendous claim to be able to save the world in the full sense of delivering from all moral and physical evil, and endowing with all moral and physical good, is verified by facts.
III. Note, from these collective sayings, our Lord's conception of the manner in which the purpose of His life was to be discharged. The calling of sinners to repentance, and the bearing witness to the truth, fall mainly under the ministering which He did upon earth. Sending fire on earth is, as His own words abundantly show, only possible as the result of His giving His life a ransom for many. Unless we take the ransom as the chief part of the manner by which He saves the world, we do not go 'back to Christ,' nor accept His own estimate of Himself.
IV. I find in these collective sayings our Lord's prevision of the issue of His work. Purpose is one thing, result is altogether another. The mission had but one intention, but it has a twofold consequence; because man's free will comes in, and even infinite Love could not ensure that all men should accept the ransom from captivity, or all should be enkindled by the leaping fire of the Divine Spirit. Let me urge on you to take Christ's words, and to take them all.
—A. Maclaren, Triumphant Certainties, p. 128.
References.—VIII. 42.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxi. No. 1267. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. John, p. 363. VIII. 43-47.—Expositor (5th Series), vol. vi. p. 440. VIII. 44.—T. F. Crosse, Sermons (2nd Series), p. 168. Expositor (5th Series), vol. viii. p. 149; ibid. (6th Series), vol. viii. p. 35. VIII. 46.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ix. No. 492. F. St. John Corbett, The Preacher's Year, p. 64. S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year, vol. i. p. 238. R. J. Campbell, New Theology Sermons, p. 66. Expositor (5th Series), vol. ii. p. 166; ibid. (6th Series), vol. iv. p. 282; did. vol. vii. p. 419. VIII. 46, 47.—G. W. Brameld, Practical Sermons (2nd Series), p. 93. VIII. 48.—H. Bushnell, Christ and His Salvation, p. 278. Expositor (4th Series), vol. x. p. 362. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. John, p. 374. VIII. 48-51.—Ibid. (5th Series), vol. viii. p. 381.
When the Jews accused our Saviour of having a devil, He simply answered, 'I have not a devil'. If you are accused of any great or scandalous fault, of which you know that you are not guilty, answer simply and quietly to that effect.
—St. Francis de Sales.
Christ Our Life
I. Christ's Antipathy to Death.—What a startling statement it is! There is nothing, I think, in all our Lord's utterances more striking than the persistent aversion to death which breathes through them; so that it has been said with truth that death is the one natural fact, the one human experience, to which Christ showed antipathy. And why, we may ask, did He take up this attitude towards death, which is an incident as unfailing and as natural as the return of old age? If He declined to speak of death as death, it was because He saw through it, because He knew its true nature, and ever looked on beyond it to that higher and fuller life of which it is intended to be the portal. He is told that the daughter of Jairus is dead, but He declares that she is only asleep. And so again, when the news was brought to Him of the death of His friend at Bethany, He put the hated word from Him and declared that Lazarus was only sleeping; and He would not change the phrase till the dullness of the disciples compelled Him. It is clear enough that He aims at teaching a new mode of thought and speech in regard to the close of man's earthly life. The early believers, taught by the Resurrection of the Lord, treasured this new term with deepest gratitude and devotion. They always spoke of physical death as sleep. Now were this the only service which Jesus Christ had rendered, had He done no more for us than to give us the right to substitute this word 'sleep' for 'death,' would He not have been among the greatest benefactors of mankind?
II. He is the Life.—But now let us go on to see what it is that ensures our right thus to think of death. In the words of the text, just as at the grave of Lazarus, our Lord sets Himself forth as the guarantee that death is not what it seems. How is it that union with Christ and obedience to Christ put us beyond the reach and power of death? Through Christ life has become a ruling power. He stands in the midst of humanity for an eternal reality, and He came that man might know it and embrace it. If they believe in Him, if they are grafted into Him and assimilated to Him, then they acquire His right to overlook death, to face it as an unreal experience, a transition not a state, a gain not a loss, an expansion not an extinction of power.
III. Life in Christ a Present Thing.—And we need to be perpetually reminded that this life in and through Christ is a present thing. Men relegate it to the future. They talk about going to heaven or to hell as if the whole issue lay outside present experience. But Christ has set forth salvation as a life, an eternal thing which begins now and here. And does not this thought light up our Lord's words? Already through obedience to Him the outer life may be quickened which will pass unscathed through the change of death day by day. If we are living unto Him, the seed of eternity and truth and love and purity may be sown within us, and bear fruits which will suffer no blight in the chill passage of the grave. Our Lord reminds us that the one thing that differentiates men both here and hereafter is obedience to His law. He knows who are His, who are keeping His sayings, who are living in His spirit, and who therefore have in them the charm of that life which shall endure, and over which the grave shall have no power. But some, perhaps, will say, Is this all real? Are you not making too light of that great fact of death? Did not Christ die, and do not we die even if we have believed in Him ever so truly, and served Him ever so faithfully? Yes. In one sense Christ did die. But He carried with Him that which lighted up the darkness. He bore into the other world a Divine principle of being which could not undergo dissolution, and He tells us that we shall do the same On one condition He offers to make death as harmless a thing to you and me as it was to Him. He says, Come to Me, believe in Me, follow Me, feed upon Me, live by Me, and you shall be scatheless, you too shall have the secret of immortality, you shall see through the terrors of death and decay as I have done and shall defy them. In you as in Him spiritual life shall triumph gloriously over physical death.
References.—VIII. 61.—J. J. Blunt, Plain Sermons, p. 27. W. Unsworth, Preacher's Magazine, vol. xi. p. 513. J. Bunting, Sermons, vol. ii. p. 290. VIII. 61-53.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxvi. No. 2169. VIII. 63.—E. A. Stuart, The Great High Priest and Other Sermons, vol. xii. p. 145. Expositor (6th Series), vol. iv. p. 178. VIII. 56.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlv. No. 2652. Expositor (4th Series), vol. v. p. 28.
The Brevity of Our Lord's Life
The story of Jesus is the story of a young man's life, and I want to see what lessons of encouragement and inspiration there may be for us in the fact that He who changed the entire course of history and revolutionised the world died when He was not yet fifty years old. 'Thou art not yet fifty years old,' said these scoffing and incredulous Jews, and that—speaking from the purely human point of view—was the tragedy of it.
I. Christ died young. He was only some thirty-two or thirty-three years of age when they nailed Him to the cruel tree. Now, the death of the young always comes upon us with a shock and a jar. We resent it. We are aggrieved by it It offends our sense of the fitness of things. Death in our minds is associated with ideas of decay. It is the weak and the decrepit and the old who are the fit subjects for death. The days of our years are three score years and ten, and if death comes before, we feel in a certain way robbed and defrauded of what is our rightful due. 'Above all,' says Bacon in his essays, 'believe it, the sweetest canticle is Nunc Dimittis, when a man hath obtained worthy ends and expectations.' Yes, when a man has lived his life, and obtained his desires, and filled out his days, he can say with Simeon: 'Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace according to Thy word'. In such a case death loses all its repulsiveness and becomes kindly, genial, gracious. But Death is grim and terrible when he takes the young for his prey. We feel that death has no business with youth. 'Take me not away in the midst of my days,' cries the Psalmist. And that from the human point of view was the tragedy of our Lord's end. He was cut off before His prime; He was not yet fifty years old! Yes, from the purely human standpoint it seemed a terrible mistake, tragedy pure and simple, that Jesus should die so young. And yet there was no mistake about it He died when He was not yet fifty years old, but there was nothing premature or untimely about His dying. This brief life, this life that only reached the threshold of manhood, was the only full, rounded and perfect life the world has ever known. This Man who was not yet fifty years old, who died when so young, looking back, was able to say, 'It is finished'.
And this is the truth I would seek to impress upon you—there is never anything premature or untimely about the death of a Christian. We allow ourselves to think so and sometimes to say so, because to our poor mortal intelligence it looks as if they were taken away in the midst of their usefulness. But the words 'premature' and 'untimely' ought really to have no place in the Christian man's vocabulary. To use them is to forget that it is in God's hands our breath is. He orders our path and our lying down, and He doeth all things well. It is also to forget that men serve Him yonder as well as here.
II. 'Thou art not yet fifty years old,' said these scornful Jews, and that was the wonder of it. For already He had stirred Palestine as it had never been stirred before. All Judea and Galilee were in a ferment because of Him. Wherever He went the multitudes thronged about Him. Not one of the prophets—not even the greatest of them, John the Baptist—had ever created the excitement Jesus did. And He had done all this in an incredibly short space of time. He was not even yet fifty years old. But the work Jesus did in Palestine is only a tiny section of the work which He has accomplished in the world.
III. 'Thou art not yet fifty years old,' said the Jews, and surely that is the inspiration of it. A young Man, and yet what a work! A young Man, but what a record! A young Man, but what an achievement! The young Christ! How the thought of Him ought to appeal to our hearts, and especially to those of us who are young ourselves! Blaise Pascal had penned his Thoughts and written his Provincial Letters before he was forty. James Renwick had done a stupendous work in the cause of the reformed religion in Scotland before he died on the scaffold at Edinburgh at twenty-six. But the young Man who did the mightiest work was He who died upon the cross when as yet He was not fifty years old! But what an appeal there is in His life! What an appeal to lofty service, to high endeavour!
—J. D. Jones, The Gospel of Grace, p. 73.
References.—VIII. 58.—T. Arnold, The Interpretation of Scripture, p. 156. Expositor (5th Series), vol. iii. p. 452. VIII. 59.—H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, Holy-tide Teaching, p. 22. J. Keble, Sermons for Septuagesima to Ash Wednesday, p. 343. J. Keble, Miscellaneous Sermons, p. 476. IX.—Expositor (6th Series), vol. x. p. 294.
And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.
Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.
And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.
It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.
I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.
Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.
These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.
Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.
Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come.
And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.
I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.
Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
As he spake these words, many believed on him.
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.
I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?
Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.
And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.
Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?
Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:
Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.